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Monday
Oct252010

7 Reasons Why Writing Well Will Help Your Music Career

As crazy as it sounds, the art of learning how to write well will immensely help in your journey to make a living with your music.

Everything from properly targeted emails to self-penned biographies and album press releases are areas where writing well can have a direct impact on your success in the new music industry.

The great thing about writing is, it’s fairly simple to learn. Set a goal, and write a set amount of words per day. It just might help you in the following ways:

1. Blog Reviews

Want music bloggers’ to review your music? Then you need to create a personal, well targeted email directed solely at them. If your message looks like it’s been cut and pasted to 500 other blogs, you probably won’t get many reviews.

Develop your writing to create relevant emails, that will catch the attention of each individual music blogger.

2. Traditional Press

The secret to getting traditional articles in the paper, can sometimes be as easy as writing the article yourself. A well written article in the tone of the paper you are submitting to, will save journalists from having to find out and craft all the information themselves.

If you’ve done your research and written in the style of the publication, they may use your complete story, or incorporate your writings into their own.

3. Getting Gigs

Using clear language, proper grammar and correct punctuation goes a long way to show your professionalism when approaching promoters about a possible gig. It’s amazing how many artists send emails all in capitals or with no regard for grammar or presentation and yet do not understand why they aren’t getting booked. Keep emails simple and to the point.

Learning how to write well helps form these habits from the beginning!

4. Effective Newsletters

This is a big one. Newsletters are important for contacting your fans and keeping them updated. Study writing and marketing techniques so that each newsletter makes an impact on the reader. These letters can directly impact sales for a new album, or attendance at gigs, so make sure they are engaging, easy to read, and contain a call to action for every reader to perform.

Newsletters should not only inform fan about shows and new releases, but also should encourage them to perform a certain action (download a song, buy merch, vote on something, answer a survey etc.).

5. Press Releases

In some cases, you might still want to go the traditional press route. Usually you would hire a PR firm to craft a suitable press release for you. But the atypical artist who writes well will cut out this cost and take control. Study other news releases, and take notes.

Be warned, these are tricky beasts to master, but once you’ve got a handle on them you can write them yourself and send them out to news-outlets whenever you have a good “story” to tell about your music. Keep in mind that a good story is not a new album release or a show date. Usually it involves an angle; something that will be interesting to the regular reader (a big charity event, a local band touring a faraway exotic place etc.,).

What story can you weave into your next release or gig?

6. Social Media (Status Updates)

Here, grammar doesn’t matter quite as much (think Twitter), but you still need to be able to write well to make status updates effective. Social media is your listening and broadcasting point. How you interact on these forums will determine how your fans view you. If you have a persona on stage, use this persona in your updates. If you’d like to display yourself as a regular person, make sure your status updates aren’t presenting you as someone you’re not.

Learning how to write good headlines is a useful skill when trying to piece together status updates.

7. Artist Bios

Artist biographies are a necessary evil when you need to provide quick information for journalists and bloggers. The ability to write an effective bio for yourself is an amazing skill to have, as bios need to frequently be updated with every new release or tour. Collect five biographies that you enjoy and try crafting your own in a similar fashion.

Once you’ve mastered this skill, you will be able to keep your bio updated and never let it languish (like so many other artist bios before it).

I often say that atypical artists need to wear many hats, as you can see, becoming a good writer is no exception.

As you become more established, the ability to write well will remain useful. It will essentially provide you with the opportunity to get an article published on any topic relevant to you or your music, without waiting around for journalists to write about you.

Is learning how to write worth the time and effort? What do you think?

__________

Image by: Markus Rödder

Mike Venti is a musician and creator of the Wayward Musician blog, which provides ideas and advice for atypical artists. This post was originally published on Wayward Musician on Oct 19, 2010. You can connect with Mike on Twitter and Facebook

Reader Comments (9)

Great article Mike! It's difficult to overstate the importance of clear communication skills. Rule #1 is to "communicate so that you cannot be misunderstood."

October 25 | Registered CommenterBrian Hazard

Thanks Brian.

Suzanne Lainson (@slainson) made a great book recommendation over on Wayward Musician for anyone looking to improve their writing. The book is "The Elements of Style" by Strunk and White. For a grammar book, it's actually a decent read!

October 26 | Registered CommenterMike Venti

Learning to write and writing on a regular basis is incredibly important. It seems as though the art of truly good prose is falling into submission. My writing skills certainly helped me get my job (for a well known music products company). Great article!

October 27 | Unregistered CommenterBen O'Brien Smith

There are a lot of good points here. I'd just like to point out that your penultimate paragraph is a very awkward and ambiguous sentence. Normally, I'd let it go, but I find it ironic and comical given the subject of the article, and specifically the last clause of the sentence! I'm pointing this out in good fun, of course, and I mean no disrespect; I enjoyed the article very much.

October 28 | Unregistered CommenterM Bass

I knew I was lucky. Now I know why... Thanks !

October 29 | Unregistered CommenterCanalh

When I saw the link to this piece on hypebot, I thought it would be about songwriting. As in writing great songs will help you much more than writing a great bio, press release, newsletter or article for a journalist to cut and paste into his publication. I know most people in this country can't put sentences together, but if I was a musician, I'd focus on writing memorable songs instead of clever pitches to blogs. It's much, much harder but will pay much bigger dividends.

November 1 | Unregistered CommenterSeth Keller

@Seth

There's no question about it, one of the main things you should be doing to improve your music career is working on your songwriting. I think that's a given. Beyond that, there are a lot of other skills musicians should work on to help them along.

Thanks for the comments!

November 2 | Unregistered CommenterMike Venti

As a teacher [Music at one college & Computer Science at another- looong story there] I see the effects of bad writing consistently It is amazing how my students have no idea how important writing is.

The music appreciation class is required to attend some LIVE concerts [what a novelty] and write about what they heard. The lack of ability to adequately desceribe whwat they experienced is disheartening at times.

Even my music students have trouble writing. Thanks for this article - I **will** be using it in my classes.

All great points. When I come across a poorly written bio, article or newsletter, it makes me doubt the band's ability to stay organized enough to write a decent song or put on a good show. I usually don't bother to listen to their music at all unless there is some other compelling reason.

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